When Betty and I took the plunge about 18 months ago we bought a used Class C motorhome. So far we have been very pleased. It is almost 8 years old, has over 120,000 miles on the engine, and has some cosmetic wear and tear. But, we have been diligent in the maintenance and upkeep and have every expectation that the big Ford V-10 engine will last at least 200,000 miles, much longer than we are likely to own it.
Because it was an older model with higher mileage I think we got an excellent deal. Including an extended warranty (a necessity on a used vehicle with so many mechanical parts) we paid just under $30,000. All the other costs involved in maintaining it have been less than $2,000 so far. The towing equipment for the new towed car will be somewhere around $2,500. All of this is definitely not small change for us but worth it as an investment in our satisfying retirement and the chance to try on a new lifestyle.
In the year and a half we have owned R.T. (Road Trip) we have driven about 4,800 miles and spent 64 nights away from home. That means roughly 88% of the time we have owned R.T. it has been parked in the side yard. Some might say it has become a very expensive yard ornament.
That does raise the question I get from blog readers: does buying a motorhome make economic sense? Unless you are going to make it your home for at least 4-5 months of the year how can the expense be justified? Most RVers are probably like us - their RV sits for most of the year.
You probably won't be surprised that I have an answer: It makes no economic sense at all. Even the idea that you can save money on motel and restaurant bills when you are on vacation doesn't work. For something that gets less than 9 miles to the gallon, must be maintained and insured, and usually spends nights on the road in a campground that averages $25-$40 a night, the no motel argument falls apart. You may not be eating in restaurants, but you still must buy food.
In one instance an RV can be a cheaper way to leave home: if you find a campground in an area of the country you like and spend at least a month. You aren't burning gas for that 30 days and the monthly fee is much less than the nightly charge.
So, if an RV usually makes no economic sense for most of us recreational users, then why spend all that money?
*Freedom that is hard to feel any other way
*Stepping out of your normal routine - not better, just different
*Exploring the country in a way you can't if you fly.
*Having the comfort of your things with you when you stop for the night
*Time together with your spouse or significant other without interruption, or,
*Time alone to still your mind, recharge and refocus
*Waking up and going to sleep close to nature
RV travel is not for everyone. You might be the type of vacationer that wants to be pampered, have a restaurant prepare all your meals, choose from a zillion TV channels, and sleep on a huge bed with down pillows. That is the way I preferred to take a break (preferably in Hawaii, England, or Italy) before I discovered RV travel.
Now, I can't wait to get on the road. The freedom is intoxicating and the feeling of adventure around the next bend can't be beat. The cost is high but the payoff is higher. Betty and I have chosen to cut our budget in other places so we can spend in a way that makes us happy.
For this year the time on the road will increase to around 90 nights. Next year I expect the total to be well over 120 nights away from home. I am excited.
And isn't that what a satisfying retirement is all about?
|Freedom machine or expensive lawn ornament?|